Keywords: Salton Sea, Riverside County, aquifer withdrawals, water supply, groundwater shortage, Coachella farmland
Travertine Point is currently Travertine Rock Ranch at Salton Sea's northwest edge.
From Hwy 86, it is a farm sitting among other farmlands.
In a country fed by farms like this, a state with a blatantly obvious long term water supply shortage and a valley that is now covered with vast new housing tracts, the conservation of an area like this more than meets the most basic intent of sound planning.
Instead, Riverside County has chosen to grant approval to another water using, nature covering, farm paving, traffic worsening housing development. And a huge development it would be at 5000 acres sprawling over this rural area.
The development will use a lot of water, regardless of the green label the promoters will slap on it. This water will then not be available as part of the solution to keeping the Salton Sea viable, so the promoters have created the Salton Sea Action Committee to save what they have their hands in destroying.
Farmers of the area produce things like dates, strawberries, wine grapes, bell peppers and other healthy foods. They rely on low-cost open lands to stay in business, in existence.
Once development gets too close, their property taxes go up, big money starts knocking on the door and food growing starts to give way. Travertine Point will become a perfect example of that as has La Quinta about 15 miles north.
Yet, Travertine Point is called by its promoters Federated Insurance and Paul Quill, project manager, an "economic engine" for the area.
What is far more likely to result is higher food prices through less supply, less wilderness and beauty for future Coachella Valley residents, more water shortages for California and the southwest, and to top all those economic benefits off - more wasteful vacation homes owned by those riding the crest of income inequality wave sweeping the country.
Is all development in Coachella Valley wrong? No, certainly not. But when, in less less than 30 years, so many date groves and other farms have been swallowed up by tracts of vacation homes, a slowing of the spread of pavement is clearly called for.
As Newspaper Press Telegram says about Travertine and Coachella Valley: Since the drought began four years ago, six major new developments have been approved that will add more than 30,000 homes and retail shops. Not a single recent development proposal has been killed because of water worries. And like other parts of California hit hard by the Great Recession, the valley welcomes the flow of new investment.
While the recession has receded, the drought lingers on with research studies from independent sources consistently showing long term reductions in southwest water.
What is also important about the Travertine and northwest Salton Sea region is its beauty.
No, not to live there, but to leave it as a very large, untouched valley hemmed in on three sides by the craggy mountains that are the hallmark of California's epic deserts, millions of years in the making.
How clear can it be that a city should not be allowed here, temporary economic gain, or not?